His green eyes opened, almost in fright, having no sense of time. Sitting up, noticing how the darkness remained by his side, Arthur's clothing and Alfred were absence from the room. "Did I sleep through the whole day?" His hand lifted the thick cloth over the window, burning sunlight stung across his flesh. He cursed and hissed loudly, hand twitching hard from skin bubbling red.
Alfred turned his head from the kitchen, hearing a noise. "Arthur? Is that you? About time you got up. It's late in the afternoon, I was getting worried."
The demon bit his lip to stop his scream and stuffed his hand under the pillow, hiding the red boils. "Yes. I just slept a deep slumber."
"Well, that's understandable really, you lost much blood last night. Just give me a moment and I'll bring you some food." The blonde looked over to the living room, looking to see if Rosa had waken up, sighed when he realized she was still asleep. "What do you care to eat?"
Arthur would take blades and gun shot wounds over the sun any night. He thought up of something which wasn't a quick meal. Solar light burned just as bad as silver and took as long to recover from. "A deer."
A deer? Alfred hadn't seen a deer in weeks. "Is your heart set on that, or are you ok with something else? Deer are a little hard to find this time of the year." 'And the meeting is going to be soon, I don't want to miss it. I'll be able to find out what everyone knows.'
Damn, well deer weren't the only difficult animals to catch. He checked his skin, still red and uneven with bubbles. "Rabbit, please." The smaller and quicker target would take up Alfred's time.
Alfred grinned. Rabbits were so much easier to find. "No problem then! How many do you want?" 'And I can get a few more for myself and Rosa as well.' Alfred adjusted the scarf on his neck, grabbing the hat off the table.
"I only need one, thank you." Arthur sat up, keeping his other hand away from blue eyes then peeled back the bandage to reveal his perfectly healed skin. 'Amazing.' He thought and pressed the cloth back, his blood dried up during the night.
"One for each of us then. I'll try to be back soon, ok? Just relax and don't strain yourself, we don't want your wound getting worse." Alfred walked over, opened the bedroom door, smiling happily at him. "Anything else you would like?"
He played the part again, it came easily since he had the heart beat of a human at one time. "Mind showing me where you keep the new bandages?" He held the spot where the metal broke off like a dull pain settled.
Why didn't he think of that? "Let me go get you some, ok? Do you want me to help, or do you want to do it yourself?" He smiled brightly, moving to the hallway closet and pulling out the box that had bandages and old cloths. Arthur seemed to be the type who would like to do things himself and not bother others.
'His smile is so alive.' Arthur caught himself staring and replied with his own small grin. "I don't want to trouble you much. I'll bandage my wound."
He placed the kit on the chair next to the bed, tipped his hat to Arthur smiling. "Thought you would say that. I'll return soon with the rabbits. Tell Rosa if she wakes up or if anyone comes by that I'm going into the forest and that I'll be back soon." Alfred waved as he left the bedroom, closing the door lightly behind him.
"Will do." The demon peeked his head from the bedroom, watching Alfred from the broken window and waited until the other man walked far enough. If it was afternoon, the sun wouldn't begin to set in a mere four hours. Nightshirt hanging off his shoulders, Arthur strolled to the old woman's room, cursing himself and thinking up a new plan. "I'll have to wait this out until night time." No choice. The woman was the easier of the two possible targets but Alfred surly sought him out for his throat. Alfred would spread the word to everyone that he was the vampire. Arthur then had to leave to another town. He didn't like the option.
Sitting on the bedside, Arthur removed his old bandage and replaced it with a clean one. "Pitiful humans." Grumbling and wrapping the cloth around his body. A question repeated in his mind that he pondered about often. 'But, would I be human again, if I could?' Glancing at his red hand, he thought on it. Arthur loved his healing abilities and paranormal human attributes but could never feel the warmth of the sun without turning into smoldering ashes. "Would I?" His finger traced the mark on his hip, thinking harder, then something struck him. "Where are my trousers?" Knowing Alfred had cleaned his attire, he somehow forgot to ask for them.
It was rude to pry and look into someone's home, then again, it was also rude to be dressed indecently. The poor, sleeping woman might die of a faint heart if she seen him only half clothed. Alfred would then really have his neck.
Bang! Everyone turned and stopped speaking, facing the Austrian with the large gavel. "Good, now that everyone is quiet we can get started. First thing, in case some do not know, Vash has become the latest victim of these unholy attacks." Heads were lowered to give a moment of silence, several glancing over to young Lily, who had clearly been crying all night with little sleep. "What some of you may also not know, is that we believe Vash injured his attacker before he was bitten."
Immediately whispers broke out among the crowd, until finally the mallet slammed down again and silence was restored. "As I was saying, we discovered a broken blood covered knife near the winery, along with several baked goods Francis sold him minutes before he was found attacking Lily in his home." Lily sobbed and hid her face in her hands, Feliciano placed his arm around her shoulders, letting her cry into his shirt while Romano glared at anyone who turned to look at them, muttering too softly for anyone to hear.
"Has anything been found to cure the victims yet?" A Lithuanian accent made people focus on the voice, many unused to hearing him speak so seriously.
Roderich shook his head sadly. "No one has been able to figure out where the monster who is attacking this village came from, why it's choosing the people it is, or if there's a way to change them back to normal. Everyone should be on the look out for someone with a recent injury and stay indoors as much as possible."
Alfred walked in right when Francis protested. "What about the Starlight Dance? It's a romantic tradition that everyone looks forward to! It commemorates the night our village was discovered!"
'All of us will be in danger, I can't have that happen but...' Roderich sighed as everyone started nodding and murmuring in agreement. 'I can't also break the contribution to our village's history.' "Since I seem to be out numbered, and we could all use a chance to forget the hardships that have happened, we will still have the dance."
Alfred moved to sit down in the last row, watching the smiles on his fellow villagers. 'Oh yea, the dance, I had forgotten about it... Not like I have anyone to take it to though.' After attending the dance for as long as he lived there, Alfred noticed that couples formed and he was usually left out. Elizaveta sometimes pulled him in to dance as a friend but as quickly as they started either Gilbert or Roderich swept her away from him. He used to take Rosa, a kind gesture but she brushed him away grinning, telling him to find a nice young lady to dance with.
'Funny how I can't wait for the dance even though I know I'll stay alone. Do I go because I expect or hope to find someone to be mine?' His cheeks turned pink. Alfred once thought he had fallen in love but he pressed his feelings too hard one night. He couldn't help himself, once seeing the striking features, Alfred dove into a fit of passion. He wondered sometimes what would have happened if he hadn't left before the sun rose after their short time together.
After hitting the gavel, Roderich then herded everyone back to the task at hand. "We need to do something now to stop whatever has been turning our loved ones into savages by arming ourselves like Vash."
'Wait, what? Did Vash injure it? Wonder how badly.' The blue eyed man thought, wondering what else he had missed. It couldn't have been much, seeing that he arrived only few seconds late.
Romano stood for everyone's attention, anger glinting in his eyes. "I agree. Since he had a weapon, Vash stopped the monster or at least slowed it down."
Feliciano then voiced his feelings, cradling Lily and stroking her head. "I think we should try to capture the creature to make peace with it." Always being the optimistic brother, he turned away from restoring to violence or death as a first choice.
'Considering how bloodthirsty it is I don't think what will work, sorry Feliciano.' Alfred sighed.
"Let's stop for a moment and think. We're getting too ahead of ourselves. We don't even know what this thing possibly looks like!" Dr. Yao Wang exclaimed. Yao came from a long line of doctors who had lived in the village since it was created. He was also known as the man to consult with if one were curious about any field of study. Since his doctor career was not needed full time, he read a variety of books, ancient, new, and supposedly even ones the Church had forbidden.
"We need to uncover what this creature is, that will help us figure out how to handle it. What do we really know about it?" Dr. Wang looked around, raising a finger. He was affected by the creature when it took his younger brother, Kiku. Therefore, he wanted to bring whatever it was to justice. "We know it drinks blood, leaving two marks on the neck."
"It hunts at night, like an owl." Elizaveta paused. "The sun hurts it, based on what has happened to the bitten ones. So it's probably sleeping in the day, right?"
Only twenty minutes passed from between Francis serving Vash to when the screaming of Lily sunk his heart. "It is fast, getting away from the scene of the crime and is probably agile. Does it walk or do you think it can fly?" Francis question, twirling a rose in his fingers.
Shivering at the thought of being a drink for a wild beast, Feliciano whimpered to himself. Taking Lily in meant he had to be brave for her, show her everything would be alright in the end. He whined lowly, not wanting her to hear. "W-what sort of creature drinks blood though? The only one I know of is a bat." Feliciano asked puzzled.
Then they heard a word along with a voice they hadn't heard before. "A vampire."
'Whoa, what? Who said that?' Alfred turned along with the rest of the villagers to look at the new voice. 'Oh, him. I don't think I've ever actually talked to him before. Or even know his name, for that matter.'
The new comer walked down the aisle, taking a place beside Roderich, smirking at every eye staring at him. He flared off his cape and brushed a hand through flowy blonde locks that Francis grew envious of. He whisked Roderich from the podium and dipped his head for a quick bow.
'That is my place at the podium and has been since my father retired. Who does this stranger think he is?' Roderich glared at the man. "Who are you and why are you not siting with everyone else?"
"For I am not like everyone else." He spoke with a smile and eyes staring Roderich down, gripping the edges, no intention in giving the stage up. "Word spreads quickly, mind you. I heard about your vampire problem." He flashed his grin to the towns people. "My name is Vasilica Lupei and you need me."
"What do you mean we need you? And what is a vampire? I have never heard of it before." Toris asked next to Feliks.
"My homeland, Romania, is well known for such beings called vampires. I came here immediately to offer you my services, my intelligence and my cure." He glanced at each pained person, insuring his value to them. "However, the business man that I am, my offer comes with a fee."
"It's certainly convenient that you know exactly what is going on in our small village and how to cure it. You even came here without anyone sending for you. How do we know it isn't you who is doing these attacks?" Romano crossed his arms, glaring harder and holding back the curse words for Lilly's sake.
Vasilica returned such a glare, as if expecting the accusation and started to stare at himself in his mirror. "This is your proof."
"It's proof that your worse than the French bast- Than the Frenchy concerning your looks. I thought only people like Francis were that conceited." Romano's cheeks were faint pink from restricting the foul words.
"I am better looking and have a more fashionable outfit than him! I'm wounded that you think otherwise." Francis huffed as he stood up, placing a hand on his chin.
"Shut your face you garlic loving frenchie! I'ma making a point!"
"Ahem!" Vasilica faked a cough, clearly insulted and annoyed. "Vampires do not have reflections. As you can tell, I have one." He then began to approach Romano, unbuttoning his coat and shirt.
"I do not want to see you undressed! Nor do the women and children!" Romano covered Lily's eyes, then covered his brother's with his other hand.
"I heard there was an recent inflicted injury." He opened his shirt. "As you can tell, my skin is prefect and pristine. I am not the damned bat from Hell. Do you require any more evidence of my worth? Are you ready to be done with this nonsense and listen to what I have to give?"
Roderich cleared his throat and stepped up to the podium. "We will put it to a vote. Will we pay this man to share with us what he knows, or will we try to capture the creature our self?"
"Without me, think how many more need to be taken away from you before you come to your senses."
"I don't know about the rest of you, but I know I've never heard of a vampire before, and if they were populated enough to have hunters, we should have heard of it before now." Feliks waved his hand around.
"Thank you for your input Feliks. Those in favor of paying Mr. Lupei for information raise your hand." Few hands were raised. "Those in favor of attempting to capture the creature?" Over half raised their hand. "I'm sorry Mr. Lupei, but we've decided to decline your offer instead."
The Romanian scuffed and sneered. "I see you have little care for those who are not among us. Those you have sealed underground." He collected his belongings and stormed off before he heard another word.
Alfred sighed in relief. 'He gives me the creeps, hope I don't see him again and he leaves soon.'
Roderich slammed down the gavel. "Well, that ends the meeting. Please remember what you have learned and stay indoors."
The blonde man wondered over to Dr. Wang wondering how to word his question. "Doctor, do you have a moment? I would like to ask you something."
"Ay, yes Alfred?"
"If someone gets a cut that requires being sown closed, once it's closed do you need to do anything else?"
"First of all, a cut doesn't need to be sown. Depending on how deep a wound is all that needs to be done is keeping it clean until it's fully healed."
"That's all? That's easy! Does it matter if it's water straight from the well or does it need to be heated? I want to know what to do in case Rosa ever gets a gash or I come across another infected person."
Dr. Wang lead the blonde towards outside, wanting to visit Kiku again. "Pure, clean water is just fine. Make sure the person doesn't move too much, the wound can reopen." 'I should check on Rosa afterwards, see if she has enough medicine.'
"Thanks Doctor. I should get back to the house now." He grinned and waved as he walked out of the room, adjusting his hat from the blinding sun.
"Don't worry Lily, Vash isn't in any pain, the rope is there so he doesn't hurt us." Feliciano reassured her, stroking his thumb over her smaller palm.
Vash hunched to the floor, crawling closer to the bars. "Big brother will be better, won't he?" Lily kneeled down and peeked into the jail cell, holding the candle close to herself.
His heart torn inside, he didn't want to lie to innocent Lily but he also saw the longing of being with Vash in her eyes. What could he say? Feliciano almost cried unable to give a proper answer. "Maybe."
Romano stood in front of Antonio's cell, watching him silently as the Spaniard watched him back. 'If I had come over that night, would I have been attacked too? Or would the creature have left us alone? It's never hunted more than one person at once so we may have been safe.' He hit his forehead against a bar with frustration and cursed under his breath.
Feliciano looked over to the cell next to Antonio's and bit his lip to stop the whimper that almost escaped. 'Ludwig looks worse than last time. I-is he not getting enough food?'
Dr.Wang patted the sadden Italian's back, knowing all too well the pangs in his heart. "I have studied them, trying to find out what I can about them. I noticed when drawing their blood, the puncture mark healed before my eyes."
Romano turned his head, enlighten. "Wait, if the wound heals that quickly, then does that mean bigger wounds heal faster than they normally would too?"
"I don't know. I don't want to treat our dear friends as specimens to find out." Watching the guard, Dr. Wang reached into the cell of his beloved Kiku, barely stroking his cold cheek. The vampire inside leaned against the flesh, as if begging for more of his touch.
"Is it safe to do that?" Romano whispered, watching the doctor touching the pale cheek. He remembered the first time Feliciano had come into the jail cells. How he had rushed to the one holding Ludwig. How he had reached for his dear friend, only to be frightened when the German lurched forward as if to attack.
Kiku gripped Dr. Wang's wrist and rubbed his head on it. "My kid brother was always a calm child. I had to give him comfort when I first visited him, I could read the look his face. I miss you, he said."
"Then someday we'll all be able to at least touch them one day, right?" Lily looked at the adults, eyes hopeful.
"We can only hope, but if one acts so calm, maybe the others will to with their friends and family. After they've eaten though, just in case." Romano looked into Antonio's eyes, wondering if the look in those eyes really was the look the Spaniard gave him when he wanted attention or if it was all just a trick of the candle light.